Last month, the British Dental Journal reported on a study suggesting that “Bisphosphonates Improve Implant Stability.”
After dental implant surgery, a dental implant is often not stable enough to enable chewing straight away. It may take several months for the bone around the implant to heal and become strong enough for the patient to regain chewing function.
“The study shows that local bisphosphonate improves implant stability, meaning that the time until normal chewing function could be shortened,” said Professor Per Aspenberg from Linköping University Hospital.
Once, talking with an implant company rep, Dr. Verigin made up a story about wanting to place an implant in a patient with extreme aluminum sensitivity. The rep assured him that his company’s titanium implants were aluminum-free. “I heard from a reliable source that all titanium implants contain some aluminum,” Dr. Verigin said. “If they do, this patient would have a violent reaction. Yet she really wants an implant, and I like your company’s product best.”
“Well,” said the rep after a brief silence, “I shouldn’t tell you this, but we do add a thin layer of aluminum to the outside so that the bone will attach and grow into the titanium.”
“Since then,” says Dr. Verigin now, “I’ve always wondered if those ‘biocompatible’ zirconium implants have anything added, as well.”
If so, they may prove to be not quite so biocompatible as claimed.
But the BDJ item points to another issue: the mechanical aspect of dental implants. Most of the time when implants “fail,” it’s due to poor implant-bone bonding. No good bond, no stability – hence, the need for materials to encourage it, even if they may contribute to, say, oral galvanism in the case of multiple metals or “side effects” in the case of drugs. And while reported failure rates remain “low” – in the 5 to 10% range – some risk factors for failure are on the rise: diabetes, head and neck radiation exposures, an aging population.
Will “failure” rates go up, too?
Failures can include jawbone damage, infection and bone loss. And this doesn’t even account for the greater systemic health “failures” that can be triggered by the presence and added stress burden of implants – stable or not. (More)